How does one retrieve the TLE file without any internet access? For instance, I am out in the open sea without an internet connection for a few days. Can I still get the latest TLE file by some other means?

  • $\begingroup$ For satellites where there is a genuine need to know the updated orbit accurately, they usually transmit that data themselves. For example, GPS satellites transmit their ephemeris information. $\endgroup$ Jun 7, 2023 at 13:25

1 Answer 1


The TLE of what? And what for? Your question is lacking.

Without internet, you can:

  • Have another form of contact (radio/cellular/carrier pigeon with USB stick/...)
  • "Look up and see for yourself", Radar for example. Doesn't work for just any type of object, obviously, and will be hard to get precise data. Only really practical to confirm extrapolations of objects that are either close enough for active detection or big enough for passive detection
  • Carry a big database and extrapolate
  • $\begingroup$ The TLE file of an Orbcomm satellite, for example Let's say I am sailing in the middle of Pacific Ocean, without 4G or 5G connectivity, and no sat phone. What I have is an outdated TLE file of that satellite from 3 days ago. For some reason, I am interested in knowing as accurate as possible the position and velocity of that satellite at the point in time. Computing the position and velocity from the outdated TLE file will not give very accurate values. The question is is that the best I can do? Is there a way I can retrieve the latest TLE file without any connection to the internet? $\endgroup$
    – Kai
    Sep 28, 2022 at 8:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Kai the website space-track.org is the U.S. Government's official distribution method for orbit data. You could have someone else get the data from the internet and then send it to you by some other means, but someone at some point needs to check the internet to get it before they can send it to you. If your colleague wants to create a service to, let's say, radio broadcast the whole TLE catalog in manual Morse code to the world, they are supposed to obtain the written permission of the U.S. Government before doing so (space-track.org/documentation#/odr) $\endgroup$
    – Ryan C
    Sep 28, 2022 at 22:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Kai. 3 days old is not outdated, but I understand your general concern. It is hard to get information that is only available on the internet (or email) when you do not have internet access. $\endgroup$
    – JohnHoltz
    Jun 7, 2023 at 1:52

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